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· 2014 Smart ED with 22kW charger
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it just me or is it almost impossible to unplug Smart cars from Ecotricity AC chargers? On 6 April I went to the one at Moto Wetherby Services, and today I visited the one at Ikea Leeds. It's fantastic to have access to these chargers and I can't complain at the price (!) but in two out of two experiences I've found that the force required to unplug the connector from the car is nothing short of mind-boggling.

By that, I mean I'm exceeding the force that I'd expect something to break, probably by a factor of two. In desperation at Wetherby I phoned the helpline and a very polite chap answered the phone almost immediately and told me that essentially I had to just keep pulling. Eventually it "let go" and joy was upon me. He said that he'd come across this before and they were slowly changing the plugs to ones which worked better.

But then exactly the same thing today happened at Ikea Leeds, with a very newly-installed charger. I tried starting and stopping the charger two or three times, to no avail. As far as the car was concerned, the socket was unlocked. After around 10 minutes of seriously major pulling and rocking, the plug eventually came out.

I never have a problem with CYC / evolt chargers (although I'm using the Smart-supplied cable), nor the Smart-supplied 13A Intertek-Lear Level 1 Portable Charger, nor my Bosch wallbox.

Any other users' experience or advice would be very welcome to hear! Attached is a photo of one of Ecotricity's two spanky new chargers at Leeds today. Ikea's website says they're "still coming" but I assure you they're fully working, if you can unplug after charging! I was very happy to meet a friendly Leaf driver there too, who offered moral support.
 

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· 2014 Smart ED with 22kW charger
Joined
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ian - thanks for your reply and that's great to hear your Zoe charged up fine at Ikea Leeds although it's puzzling how it stopped part-way through.

I don't know whether the Zoe can provide updates to your mobile phone about state of charge, but my Smart wasn't able to do this unfortunately because the charging stations are underground, hence limited mobile signal I guess. It's no big deal since I know roughly how fast the car charges.

It sounds like the compatibility problem may be with the Smart rather than the Ecotricity charging plug so I'll mention it to my dealer next time I'm talking to him.

Eunicholas - yes I'm charging at 22kW - that's the maximum for the Smart Electric Drive with the optional Brusa charger which I have.

Maybe next time I should think about plugging the Ecotricity plug into my own cable and then my own (Bosch/Smart supplied) cable into the car, since I know that fits. The extra length makes me a little nervous though.
 

· 2014 Smart ED with 22kW charger
Joined
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10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies! Physically it feels like the connector is locked at the car, but the car says it's not, (i.e. the unlocked padlock light is illuminated). I terminate the charging by pressing the unlock button on the car key fob, which stops the charging and unlocks the connector. I can hear the unlock servo operating.

I did have some trouble starting the charge too (at Ikea Leeds but not at Moto Wetherby). At Ikea the plug wouldn't at first lock into the car and the light above on the car socket flashed quickly 20 times. I don't know what that means but it didn't seem too happy. I unplugged and replugged a few times and eventually it locked in properly.

One other part to the story is that I'd after I got a successful lock on the car connector when I plugged in, I must have misunderstood what was shown on the charger screen and actually I thought the car was charging when it wasn't. When I came back I found that the car hadn't charged because I hadn't pressed the button on the charger. I suppose it's possible that charging did start and then stopped while I was away; I don't know. So anyway I started / re-started it and waited for 20 minutes for a charge. Then all the trouble with unplugging the car started.

There aren't any catches or levers anywhere that I can see or know of. The Ecotricity connector did seem very slightly 'wonky' at the collar near the tip when I looked at it as I struggled to get it locked in, but I didn't think it was enough to worry about and it might have just been my imagination.

Maybe I just need to have another go and document the whole thing properly from start to finish. I'm just puzzled why it's only Ecotricity chargers that I seem to have trouble with. Maybe I'll try a third Ecotricity charger sometime and see how I get on. I suppose it's all part of the learning experience of being an EV 'Newbie' :)
 
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